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Evgeni Malkin biography
Birthplace: Magnitogorsk, Russia.
Birthdate: 31 July 1986.
Height: 6'4 (193cm)
Weight: 192lbs. (86kg)
Favourite players: Sergei Fedorov, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg
Evgeni Malkin was born in a small city on the Europe-Asia border. Magnitogorsk is famous for its hockey team, Metallurg. In Russia hockey teams have their own hockey schools, where young players learn the game. After leaving the school they sign with the main team. Malkin was very lucky to live in Magnitogorsk as its hockey school was one of the best in Russia. It's hard to imagine, but at the age of 15 Evgeni wasn't considered as a future star. In fact he wasn't even called up to the Ural regional team.
“It’s not suprising at all,” says Sergey Vitman, the director of the hockey school who was in charge of Malkin since Evgeni was 8. “There were several top-notch coaches who didn’t find anything special in him. He didn’t even make the Ural region team – up to the moment I was offered to coach it. Of course, such a lack of attention was wounding me, because I saw what kind of a player he was going to be. I thought it was evident to everybody. You could see Malkin’s endowments in everything and his pertinacity and desire for training was simply fantastic. While in the evenings his teammates would sneak out for a discotheque, he would go to a volleyball field and play against men.”
In the 2003-04 season Malkin made his Russian Superleague debut at the age of 17, scoring 3 goals and gathering 9 assists in 34 games and receiving a certain praise.
Later that season Malkin, with team Russia, won a bronze medal at the 2003 U-18 World Championships, defeating team USA. Evgeni resulted Russia's second best in points, with 5 goals and 4 assists in 6 games.
At the 2004 NHL Entry draft, Malkin was chosen by Pittsburgh Penguins, 2nd overall.
However, he preferred to stay in Russia for some more time.
"I was the youngest player on the team [Metallurg], and I didn't play in that many games because I was the youngest," said Malkin. "I think I need one more year to feel more comfortable playing on a high level, against men. And I want to try to get physically stronger in order to get ready for the NHL."
Prior to resolving the transfer dispute and eventually entering the NHL, Malkin would make a significant impact on the international stage. He was named top forward and MVP of the 2006 World Junior Championships for the silver medal-winning Russian team, on which he was the captain. Less than two months later, Malkin was given one of the final spots on the senior Russian hockey team for the 2006 Winter Olympics, where he helped the team to a fourth-place finish with 6 points in 7 games. Despite playing behind many NHL superstars, he was named the team's best player.
Malkin also played at the 2006 World Championships in May, where he led Russia with 9 points. By competing in the World Juniors, Winter Olympics and the World Championships in 2006, Malkin achieved the very rare feat of playing in all three major tournaments in the same year.
Before the start of the 2006-07 season, it appeared Malkin would remain in Russia another season after signing a one-year contract with Metallurg, but after some legal maneuvering, Malkin relieved himself of his Russian obligations and signed an entry-level contract with the Penguins.
On September 20, 2006, in his first preseason game as a Pittsburgh Penguin, Malkin collided with teammate John LeClair and dislocated his shoulder, which forced him to miss the start of the season. Subsequently, his NHL debut would be delayed until October 18, against the New Jersey Devils, in which he would score his first NHL goal against Martin Brodeur.
To begin his NHL career, Malkin set a modern-day record as the first player to score at least one goal in each of his first six games. No player had achieved this feat since the league's inaugural season in 1917-18, when Joe Malone scored at least one goal in 14 consecutive games to start his NHL career. Malone's mark, however, was set when technically every player was playing in his first NHL season; Malone had already played almost a decade in the league's predecessor, the NHA. Malkin's streak was eventually stopped on his seventh game by the San Jose Sharks.
Playing on a team with fellow phenom Sidney Crosby, Malkin finished his rookie campaign with 33 goals and 85 points, leading all first-year players and capturing the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.
When Malkin arrived in the United States, he spoke no English, but through the help of fellow Russian and teammate Sergei Gonchar, he eventually started to give short, simple interviews in the language.
In his sophomore season, Malkin recorded his first NHL hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on January 3, 2008. He earned another three-goal performance several games later, on January 14, against the New York Rangers.
Midway through the season, when more heralded teammate and captain Sidney Crosby went down with an injury, Malkin significantly elevated his game, scoring 60 points in the last half of 2007-08, including 36 points in the 21 games Crosby was injured between January 19 and March 2. In total, Malkin completed the season with 106 points, six points behind Alexander Ovechkin for the Art Ross Trophy. Malkin continued to dominate into the playoffs as the Penguins made it into the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. He scored three points against Detroit in the finals, totalling 22 points overall, although the Penguins were defeated by Detroit in six games.
Malkin's sophomore season culminated in a Hart Memorial Trophy nomination as league MVP (won by Alexander Ovechkin) and First Team All-Star honours. On July 2, 2008, with one year left in his entry-level contract, he signed a contract extension with the Penguins for $43.5 million over five years.